The Highwayman

This is an entry to the Writers Fest contest.

Not many of you know of the story of the highwayman. His riches have him seeming like a wealthy man, but it is only his heart that needs enriching.

Based during when King George took reign over Great Britain.

Also based on the poem, the Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. I request you do not read it if you haven't already, until after this is finished. I have also changed some details to preserve realistic qualities.

Chapter 1

Bonnie

"Maximilian!"

His black eyes looked into the highwayman's. He kicked him lightly, and he charged on. At first the highwayman was startled. As his eyes fell to the highway, a smile rose onto his lips.

The highwayman looks like a fine British man. His face was pale with bravery, his eyes menacing and powerful, and his hat propped onto his head. Lace was bunched at his chin, & his pistol was a trusty friend tucked near his side. The only thing out of proportion, however, was his bloodstained shirt.

"Stop here, Max," he ordered. Quietly he slid of the horse and tied him to a tall birch, hidden by the brush.

He stepped carefully onto the highway. In the distance, a wagon trailed slowly along the gravel road. Two tall Clydesdale horses were driven by a young man in black.

He tied the knot in his leather pelt around his face to hide his scars. Before the carriage could spot him sprinting, he dropped to the ground, feigning death.

Holding the fictional blood stained 'wound' to his chest, he exaggerated his breath as the carriage stumbled along.

"Is that a dead man in the street?"
"That is nonsense, Bonnie! There is no--"
"Papa! It's a dead man in the street!"

Although he heard the carriages horses advancing toward him, and the commotion of ruckus on the wooden wagon, he succeeded in remaining 'injured'.

The slight injection of adrenaline soared through him like blood in his veins. Shouts and screams erupted and the wagon ceased it's ride abruptly, inches from his sprawled out figure.

"Tis' a dead man on the highway!"
"Shush, Beverly! Mother told you to belt up!"

Hands reached under his arms, and he was hoisted into the wagon. It smelled faintly of moss and rotting wood, he noted. The dark black eyes, just like his horses, sealed like they had been moments before.

More yelling and conversation rang over the silence, none of it mattering to the highwayman.

As the young man in front cursed to the horses in front of him, the highwayman forced a cough. He pretended to hack, and speak with a raspy voice.

"Where am I?" He muttered. Slight fear twinged in his mind. Steadily he thought. Believable.

Open like doors his eyes did. He met the average highway traveling family.

An older woman, nearly fifty, was attempting to coddle a young girl that seemed of only eight. The woman's face was defined and filthy. A bonnet was strung tightly around her neck, the gray of her hair exposed.

The young man that had been controlling the horses had eyes of baby blue, and muscular build that loomed over the rest of the crowd. A dress of olive green was worn by the smallest child, cradled by the woman. Another man around the age of the woman was shaking the highwayman wildly, streaks of the man's blonde hair flying.

Lastly his eyes rested on her.

She was scarcely younger than him; Barely seventeen. It seemed as if she failed to trim or comb it. A bonnet too was around her head, but her long black hair was down to her waist. The highwayman assumed they had urged her to trim it, but the resistance teenager rebelled. A smile, just like his, rose on her lips.

"What is your age, man? Your name?" the blonde man spoke again. "Twenty-six," he sputtered. "I'm Jasper." It wasn't a lie.

After letting the highwayman dress his 'wounds', the older man halted the young man.

A man walking along the highway called out to the young man. They broke into a hearty conversation, all the family joining in as the wagon slowly wheeled down the highway.

Except the girl.

She stared at the highwayman in curiosity, as if he possessed some sort of value or had a third eye. The curiosity was contagious to the highwayman as well.

Her father has assigned her to care for him while the conversation was started. Ignorant people, as shouldn't they be tending to his 'wound'? Maximilian must be ages away. The highwayman knew that Bonnie, although he didn't know it was her name, knew he was feigning.

She approached him in the now idling wagon, as the family chatted. The highwayman noticed they gestured to him. They were speaking about him. He had known it.

Bonnie placed a hand over the stain in his shirt. The highwayman felt the warmth of her hand enter his blood. He began to lean forward, to whisper something.

It was his chance. He whipped out his pistol and jabbed it in her gut. Simultaneously, he tore off his bandanna and held it to her mouth, muffling her scream as realization speared her. It was the highwayman, she recited in her head. Thief of all values! Just as the poster on the police station had read.

The highwayman whispered directions into her ear once more, and she followed them. Soon the clink of gold and silver metal fell in his hands.

The wagon began moving again. Bonnie remained silent, staring as the highwayman retied the bandanna. Once out of earshot of the friend they had idled with, he stood up and repeated what we did with Bonnie, except with a group. Cooperative as ever they dropped the jewelry and items of value.

Bonnie stared at the highwayman in horror.

Something pierced him. An invisible blood bled onto the pages. He stumbled for a moment. Guilt from the deaths he had caused and things he had stolen. The metal in his hands slipped out of his grasp, except for a single necklace, which had been the girl's. He silently hooked it around his neck and left the wagon.

The people had been in an awful fight with themselves and a fright with the highwayman. Bonnie had saved them.

The highwayman didn't stop running until he found Maximilian. He neighed appreciatively. Quickly, the highwayman hopped onto Max and galloped away, the thought of the mysterious girl in the wagon on his mind.

His fists burrowed into his eyes, until tears wrote emotions on his face. How could he forget her eyes?

Maximilian looked up as if to console his master. No, it was forever embedded in his mind.

Bonnie had broken the strong walls of a thief and inside his heart she welded her face.

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